In parenting some things need no translation, like the mom glare. In English or Spanish (and I imagine any other language), the mom glare instantly tells a child that mom means business, and that they must start behaving or else! It took awhile for me to master this look. It was very hard for me to try to look mad and serious when a cute 11 month old was staring back at me smiling, but eventually parenting is more than just cuddles, diaper changes, feedings and raspberry kisses.
Eventually, I found my inner mom glare in addition to other disciplinary tactics. My parenting strategy is a combination of ideas I picked up from my childhood, parenting books and teachers, but sometimes my ideas have come unexpected places like cartoons. For example, my favorite, was saying “Swiper no swiping” when my kids would snatch things away from other kids (thank you Dora for the idea). It was nice to have a specific phrase to repeat whenever my child took things from other kids. Because it was short, specific and consistent it made sense to my child, but better yet, I was armed with a plan for that scenario.
A few months ago a friend’s child was crying because she wanted a different color cup. My friend calmly told her daughter, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset”. It was a cute and catchy phrase, but I expected the child to continue crying like my children often did when they really wanted something, but instead the child instantly stopped crying. Her mom’s explanation apparently made sense to her. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. I liked it and I stole it! I tried it out that same evening when it was time give my kids their gummy bear vitamin. Usually, I would try to find their favorite color to avoid whining, but this time I purposely gave them the wrong color. They cried as expected and I said “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”. They stopped crying, paused and then ate their vitamin quietly. Wow! Since then I use that phrase whenever fighting, crying and whining starts about who has the biggest piece of cake, and why can’t I give them a different color straw. It works every time no matter the circumstances.
I was happy to have a new idea to file into my mommy game plan. I was new to this American mommy parenting thing. I was parented in Spanish and there was little rhyming involved, but there is one Spanish poem I remember and often use with my children when they fall. My mom would say this to me after a fall, and somehow it made it all better:”sana, sana, colita de rana, si no se sana hoy se sana mañana” (heal, heal, frog booty, if you don’t feel better today, you will feel better tomorrow). Not only does this poem make the pain go away, but it puts a smile on your little one’s face.
I like to find patterns in life, and it is obvious that we just need phrases that are catchy or rhyme. It seriously, falls short of hypnotism! I am on to something! If there are more rhyming parenting lines I must know them all! Bwahahaha (evil laugh)! Last week I asked local moms to share the catchy or rhyming parenting phrases that they’ve heard or currently use. I made a list of these phrases, and added a few that I made up. Thank you to the local mom Facebook page for sharing some of these!
Catchy Phrases (Child Hypnotism)
- “Criss cross applesauce”
- “Crisscross applesauce with hands on your laps and bubbles in your mouth.” (so they sit still, keeps hands to themselves and don’t interrupt)
- “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”
- “You get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit.”
- “Get a tissue for your issue.”
- “It’s time to clean your pits, your sits and lady bits.”
- “God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt.”
- “Take a break before you make a lake.”
- When your kid is whining ask “what do whiners get?” pause and answer “nothing, whiners get nothing”. I LOVE this one. My kids understand they need to use a different tone when asking for something.
I made up a couple of my own:
- “Take a nap or mommy is going to snap” (ok, maybe this is not a nice one)
- “After eight it is too late” (when they ask for snacks after bedtime).
If you know of more phrases in English or Spanish please share in the comments!